Our Team

Principal Investigator – Dr. Susan Hector, RPA


Dr. Susan Hector has over 40 years of experience with prehistoric, historic, and ethnographic cultural resources in southern California. In addition, she has substantial management experience beyond the cultural resources subject area. She served as the Director for San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Environmental Programs Manager for San Diego Gas & Electric Company and has taught anthropology and archaeology at San Diego City College. She is currently the Principal Investigator for NWB Environmental Services where she manages cultural resources projects.


Dr. Hector has prepared more than 300 compliance technical reports for federal, state, and local agencies. She has authored many scientific articles and publications, made technical and popular presentations on prehistoric and historic archaeology, and has professional experience with the cultural resources of the Great Basin, American Southwest, and California. She has special expertise in the development of management plans for cultural resources located within undeveloped areas such as utility corridors, open space preserves, and parks. Dr. Hector worked for the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation for 12 years, her final years there as the Director of the department. While working for the County of San Diego, Dr. Hector successfully obtained grants for historic preservation and natural resource conservation. She was directly responsible for the development of a cultural resources management program for the County. From 2009 to 2012, she was a Principal Environmental Specialist, Cultural Resources, and provided services for both San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Company, for whom she developed a cultural resource management program. A significant part of this program is its GIS capabilities for screening projects for impacts to archaeological sites. She developed the Arc Avoid GIS tool that is used to manage operations and maintenance work within the SDG&E service area, and the company received an ACRA award in 2011 for her work.


Dr. Hector has directed and completed archaeological and historical research projects, field surveys and inventories, test programs, and data recovery projects throughout the west. She has special expertise in ethnobotany, shellfish analysis, lithic tool analysis, historic artifacts, ethnography and ethnohistory, and hunter-gatherer special activity areas. Her diverse background includes museum curation and project management. She has also taught classes in anthropology and archaeology at the college level in Los Angeles and San Diego.


Senior Archaeologist Erin M. Smith, Doctoral Candidate, MA, RPA


Ms. Smith has over fifteen years of archaeological experience in cultural resource management and academic research.  She has been involved in cultural and historical projects in California, Idaho, Washington, the American Southwest, Baja California, Mexico, and British Columbia, Canada.  In Canada, she has supported an Indigenous Archaeology through a collaborative participation and knowledge-based exchange between anthropologists and First Nations peoples.  This collaboration has worked to develop a better understanding of history (prehistory as an on-going history, including now) and to actively cultivate knowledge for the lives, cultures, and identities of peoples today.


Over the years, Ms. Smith has been involved in southern California projects and research, covering landscapes from the coasts to the deserts.  Notable work includes La Casa de Estudillo at Old Town State Historic Park, Stonewall Mine at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and the Southern Pacific Railroad River Station at Los Angeles State Historic Park. However, her experience also includes multi-phase projects throughout the continental west.


In addition, Ms. Smith has been involved in multiple community-building projects, has served on the board of the San Diego County Archaeological Society, and is involved in historical preservation through the Daughters of the American Revolution society.  Ms. Smith has hosted and organized symposia for state, national, and international archaeological organizations, including the Society for California Archaeology, the Society for American Archaeologists, and the Society for Historical Archaeology.  Her recent publications are found in flagship journals, such as American Anthropologist and the Journal of Archaeological Science. Ms. Smith received her BA in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) from the University of California at San Diego in 2003, her MA in Anthropology (concentration in Public Archaeology) from California State University at Northridge in 2011, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Anthropology (concentration in Archaeology) at Washington State University with an anticipated degree in 2017.  She has been trained by leading professional and academic specialists in areas such as cultural resource management, lithic artifact analysis, shellfish analysis, palynology, and global information systems (GIS).  In addition to working in both public and private sector cultural resource management, she has taught anthropology courses at Washington State University and San Diego City College.


Archaeologist – Michael Taylor


Mr. Taylor is an archaeologist and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. As a field archaeologist, Mr. Taylor has extensive experience in desert surface surveying, prehistoric and historic site excavation, archaeological testing, data recovery, artifact identification, archaeological monitoring, laboratory analysis, marine shell speciation, cultural resource management, and collaboration with Native American tribal members. As a member of an archaeology team, Mr. Taylor conducted field and lab work for the multiple award-winning restoration of California State Park's historic Cosmopolitan Hotel in Old Town San Diego. Mr. Taylor received his BA in Archaeological Anthropology from Columbia University in the City of New York.


Senior Project Manager – Josh Tansey, M.A. In Progress


Mr. Tansey is an archaeologist and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Tansey has ten years of archaeological field and laboratory experience as a project manager, field director, crew chief and crew member. His archaeological experience includes survey, excavation, and lab work involving all archaeological site types located in Southern California. In addition, he has chemical laboratory experience pertaining to strong acid digestion of soil and water samples for ethnobotanical and mass spectrometry analysis. He is certified as a City of San Diego archaeological technician and has completed the 40-hour HAZWOPER training; certificate #754912057. Mr. Tansey earned an Environmental Studies certificate and BA in Anthropology at San Diego State University. He is currently pursuing his MA in Cultural Resource Management at Adams State University.


Associate Archaeologist - Michael "Bucky" Buxton


Mr. Buxton is a veteran of the US Navy who became interested in archaeology while working as a commercial sea urchin diver. He now has over 25 years of experience as a professional archaeologist and has worked in a variety of settings for California State Parks and several private sector resource management firms. He has participated in archaeological survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, and report preparation for numerous prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in California. He has also completed research and fieldwork at many Spanish, Mexican, and American archaeological sites throughout Southern California. Mr. Buxton was awarded the 2013 Golden Shovel Award from the Society of California Archaeology for his outstanding field work, and has twice won the San Diego Institute of History Copley Award (1991 and 2004) for his papers relating to the American period of San Diego history. His publications include several articles on the maritime history of San Diego and numerous archaeological reports.

Lead Archaeologist / SDG&E In-House Consultant - Phill Bosque


Mr. Bosque is an archaeologist and US Army veteran. At NWB Environmental, Mr. Bosque works at SDG&E's Environmental Programs, reviewing construction project for cultural resources. His primary responsibility is ensuring environmental compliance for operations & maintenance, as well as some larger capital projects. Mr. Bosque engages construction engineers and representatives from multiple disciplines to help ensure the protection of San Diego's cultural resources.  He has extensive experience working at California State Parks as an archaeological field technician. His recent projects include Field Director during the construction of the new Los Angeles State Historic Park, which included monitoring construction, excavating historical architecture, collecting artifacts, and data recovery of a 19th century railroad depot. Mr. Bosque has worked with the Maya Research Program in Belize where he excavated a Mayan village site at Xnoha with the University of Texas at Tyler under Dr. Guderjan. At San Diego State University he worked under an honorarium from the Smithsonian Institute analyzing zooarchaeological remains found at prehistoric sites from Santa Cruz Island under Dr. Braje. Mr. Bosque is a graduate of San Diego State University where he obtained his BA in Anthropology.

Field Archaeologist - Paige Kohler, M.A.


Ms. Kohler is an archaeologist with experience in laboratory work, anthropological research, and historical research. Ms. Kohler manages NWB Environmental's Verizon Wireless Section 106 Review assignments for telecommunications projects. Ms. Kohler has contributed to multiple seasons at the Edom Lowlands Regional Archaeology Project in Jordan, as well as the Jezreel Valley Regional Project at Legio in Israel. She was a paid intern for the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, Israel, where she performed archaeological research, artifact cleaning, and sorting and cataloging of artifacts from local excavations. Ms. Kohler has worked on both solar and electrical projects as a cultural monitor. She received a BA in Anthropology (focus in Archaeology) and a BA in Religion from the University of California, San Diego, an MA in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently working on an MA in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton. Ms. Kohler has traveled to eight countries and visited their respective archaeological sites, in order to learn and broaden her perspective as a field archaeologist.

Field Archaeologist - Orlando Ramos


Mr. Ramos is a field archaeologist and a veteran of the US Navy with experience conducting survey, excavation, and monitoring throughout California. He has worked on many utility projects in cultural resource management, including the Fire Management Program (FiRM) by SDG&E, gas line work for SoCal Gas, and telecommunications work for Verizon. Mr. Ramos has contributed to historical archaeology at the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, and bioarchaeology lab work for the San Diego Museum of Man, and received his Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University. Mr. Ramos is a world traveler who has expanded his perspective and expertise as a field archaeologist at archaeological sites in over thirteen countries. He has completed 40 hour HAZWOPER certification; certificate #754915043.

Field Archaeologist -  Mark Abelon


Mr. Abelon is a field archaeologist with experience conducting survey, excavation, and monitoring throughout California. He has worked on many projects in cultural resource management, including solar projects in Riverside County and Monterey County, the California High-Speed Rail project in Tulare County, the Fire Management Program (FiRM) by SDG&E, gas line work for SoCal Gas, and telecommunications work for Verizon. Mr. Abelon has contributed to historical and prehistorical archaeology for Los Peñasquitos Ranch House as an instructional assistant for the Introduction to Archaeological Field Work class and Archaeological Artifact Analysis class at San Diego City College. Mr. Abelon was a history intern for the San Diego County Parks & Recreation at the Los Peñasquitos Ranch House, where he performed historic research, sorting, and cataloging of historic artifacts from the Ranch House's collection.

Remote Pilot in Command/Digital Content Producer - Trevor Neuenswander


Trevor Neuenswander is the head of the UAS division at NWB Environmental. Trevor holds a Private Pilot license and a Remote Pilot rating. He has a keen eye for detail and a steady hand on the controls. He is currently studying film at San Diego State University and is pursuing his interest in aerial cinematography. Trevor has extensive professional experience as Pilot in Command (PIC) for small UAVs for commercial operations under the FAA Section 333 Exemption and FAA Part 107. He has successfully completed projects such as aerial videography, photography, survey, and in video editing.


Field Archaeologist/GIS Technician/Remote Pilot - Jezreel Ontiveros


Mr. Ontiveros is a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician and Field Archaeologist. He currently serves as a Military Policeman with the California Army National Guard and has been serving for over 9 years. At NWB, Mr. Ontiveros is the lead GIS Technician and also undertakes archaeological field surveys, monitoring and excavations. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a BA in Anthropology and Certificate in GIS from San Diego Mesa College.  Mr. Ontiveros is an active volunteer in the San Diego County Archaeological Society Climate Change Field Surveys and his goals are to continue to incorporate GIS and Archaeology.

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